Freaking politicians. It would be different if they brought something to the table other than their complaints and demands, but that was seldom the case. Konan put the phone down and stepped back from everything. His mind twirled with doubts. Facts were few, and the killer relentless. “He has tormented me every step of this case!”
Konan looked through the first case file. The victim, another woman, had long cuts in her face, but it appeared less practiced than the cuts on Amber and Lilly.
“This could be one of his first victims. Or maybe he changed tools.” He sat the case aside and pulled out another. A knock sounded from the door. He looked up; Ashton stood in the doorway.
“Whatcha got, IT?”
“I have,” Ashton flashed a two-inch thick file in front of him, “every deleted email and file from the mainframe.”
“Thanks man. I appreciate your help.”
“You didn’t ask for help. You demanded it.”
“I see. Let me ask you something, Ashton.”
“Knock yourself out, slugger.”
“If it was your wife, daughter or sister lying there on a slab, would you mind if we sat it to the side and investigated only when we had time?”
Ashton shook his head. “You misunderstood…”
“No, I didn’t. You have a job to do, and it is an important part of our investigations. If you don’t like being held up or working late, do us all a favor and quit.”
Ashton sat the file down on a stack of files by the door and walked out. “This dude’s a punk. He doesn’t even work here anymore.”
Konan picked up the file and locked up the Records cage. He took the elevator to the main floor. Chief Janko waved him to his office. Konan nodded to Wiggins and Tomas and closed the door behind him. Janko motioned to the chair, Konan sat down.
“The Mayor called,” Janko said.
“Yeah, I spoke to him.”
“He’s not happy.”
“And? He doesn’t strike me as the model for the jovial type.”
“He claimed that the people of Fredericksburg have lost faith in the police. What do you think?”
“About the murder, Konan.”
“I think I found the first victim. I have to do more studying, but I think I found where it all began.”
“Well, that’s something at least.”
“Yeah. This whole thing is personal. Or at least that’s what I think.”
“He’s fixated on you.”
“Yeah. He has kept referring to the crimes as a game. It’s my belief that he is an intellectual, and he wants to be challenged.”
“Why does he go after women?”
“That’s the question, isn’t it? He may like women, but had an unpleasant experience that warped his perspective. Or maybe he hates them. I don’t know yet.”
Janko’s lips tightened into a fierce smile. “That is paper thin, Konan. We need something solid. What’s in that file?”
“Every deleted file and email from the mainframe.”
“Do you think the killer is a cop?”
“Maybe. It would explain certain things, such as why the killer disappeared for a decade and suddenly reappeared.”
“Jesus. So, you’re taking it home to do some light reading.”
“Something like that.”
“Okay.” Janko had a few follow-up questions. Konan answered them as succinctly as he could. The goal was to provide information but not reveal everything at once. Konan departed when the phone rang. He exited the building and walked to the nearest bus stop.
Konan caught a bus and sat in the back row. He didn’t want to go home straight away. The bus allowed him to ride and think. He opened the file and read. Most of the deleted files and emails were unimportant memos, memes and other garbage. However, one thing stood out to Konan. It was an email from Mayor Smith to Tomas.
“I don’t care what you must do to secure this verdict. You do what is necessary. Don’t worry about repercussions. I have always taken care of you. Remember, you owe me.”
Konan got off the bus near the main square and walked to the nearest pay phone. Yes, a few pay phones were still in existence, and Konan preferred the old ways to the new-fangled way of doing things. He dialed Tomas’s cell.
“Tomas, it’s Konan.”
“Hey, what’s up.”
“Can you meet me at Mary’s Pub? I am half-starved, and I want to run something by you.”
“Sure. Give me fifteen and I will be there.”
Konan walked to Mary’s and took a seat in the back corner of the room. He told the hostess that someone would join him. She nodded and said she would bring them to the table when his friend arrived.
Twenty minutes later, Tomas walked into the pub. He smiled at the hostess, and she smiled back. She and Tomas walked to the table. After placing their orders, Tomas waited for Konan to open up.
Konan called Lilly before he had called Lilly. He explained to her what he found. She told Konan that she would check with Janko to see if he knew the mayor used his officers in ways that besmirched his department.
“I have something I want to ask you, Tomas.”
“Does Mayor Smith get involved with many cases?”
“What do you mean?”
Konan sipped his water and paused for a moment. He pulled out the email and showed it to Tomas.
“I mean, does he often tell you to violate your oath? How often does this type of behavior occur?”
“Now hold on, Konan. You don’t understand what that was about.”
“I’m listening. Explain it to me.”
“From jump street, that case was grave. We knew it was this guy, and we couldn’t find the first piece of evidence to convict him. He was hurting kids, Konan.”
“So, you manufactured evidence and framed him.”
“You don’t understand, man. He was hurting girls no older than six. He was….” Tomas trailed off and Konan watched him. “I have a six-year-old daughter, Konan. I just wanted her to be safe.”
“I get it. Nobody is going to raise a stink about a baby-raping pedophile. Did the glue stick?”
“Yeah. There was enough evidence to convict him.”
“Did the crimes stop?”
“Mayor Smith never interjected himself into another investigation?”
“That cat is weird, man. It was like he got off on setting this fool up, but no, he never got involved again.”
“Has Mayor Smith tried to apply any pressure to you on this case? If so, I want to know about it. You best not forget. Do you understand?”
“He hasn’t applied pressure. I understand, Konan.”
Thermopolis finished his glass of water and asked for a carry out box. The server disappeared into the back. Tomas shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He licked his lips and wiped his hands on his grey slacks.
“Konan, I’ m-”
Konan stopped him from speaking by holding up his hand. He stared at Tomas for a long moment. The silence that grew between the two was awkward.
“You do not get to apologize, Tomas. I’m not a father. Any chance I may have had to step into that role has vanished from my life. There is only the case. If Smith has asked you to manufacture evidence or frame a suspect, I better be the first person to know.”
“Yes, sir. You will be.”
The waitress appeared with the container. Konan boxed up his meal and stood. “Enjoy your meal, Tomas. It’s on me this time.”
Konan tossed a 20 on the table as a tip and walked out of the restaurant. He boarded a bus and leaned back against the seat. “
“Who is killing these folks? There is minimal evidence left at the scenes. That screams intelligence, or knowledge of investigative techniques. Is it a cop?”